Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cano gets barbequed in Kansas City

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This was only an exhibition. But it sounded more like a game seven between the Yankees versus Red Sox at Fenway Park. With every pitch take, warm-up swing and 75 mile per hour fastball from his father, New York’s Robinson Cano was showered with boos! With every pop up, fly ball and foul ball, outs in the competition, Cano was cheered by the masses gathered at Kauffman Stadium! We all know the Royals – Yankees rivalry dates all the way back to the 70’s when the teams battled in the post-season several times. The Royals franchise also has lost its share of free-agents to the deep pockets of the Steinbrenner family over the years. But this was the All-Star Home Run Derby and part of the first Mid-Summer Classic in K.C. since Kauffman Stadium opened way back in 1973. Who knew the fans in the heartland could bring the heat like their fellow American Leaguers in the Bronx or Boston. But they can and did just that!

The Royals faithful were unmerciful on Cano, the captain of the American League Home Run Derby team for not selecting Kansas City designated hitter Billy Butler to compete for the A.L. in front of the home fans. It’s not like Cano’s choice was an easy one. Butler has 16 home runs at the break, while Derby participants Jose Bautista hit 27, Mark Trumbo(22) and now two-time winner Prince Fielder hit 15 first half jacks. In the end, not only did they make their presence felt but rejoiced in the fact last year’s derby champion, finished with a big goose egg! Cano failed to hit one home run, finishing last in the competition. This was the first shut out at the plate since Brandon Inge went homerless in the 2009 game. Afterwards Cano said the fans did not affect his performance but fatigue was a key factor in his power-outage. Cano didn’t arrive into Kansas City until about 4:30 am after the final game of the Yankees-Red Sox series at Fenway Park the previous night. He also wasn’t upset at the crowd for giving him the business at the plate. As a matter of fact he stated he would be more than happy to compete in another Derby. “Why not? You’re not going to be the hero all the time. This is for the fans. When you make a mistake, you have to take it.”

In an event that basically means nothing other than an opportunity for the fans to watch their favorite players in a more relaxed atmosphere show off their ability to hit long towering home runs, Royals fans had every right to exercise their displeasure with Cano for not bringing in a qualified home-town guy to compete. Not only would Yankees fans have done the same thing, they would have been just as loud and probably thrown in a few expletives Kansas City fans chose to leave out. The response of Kauffman crowd not only showed they were actually into the Derby, even without a dog in the fight but the Kansas City fan also has a real voice outside the stadium next door where the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs play. Arrowhead Stadium is known as one of the toughest in the league for visitors and now Kauffman is also gaining a little status in the respect column.

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